Again with the keys

Have you ever misplaced something—something like, say, your keys—and then had to retrace your steps? Sure, you have. Everyone does that. No need to use brain injury as an excuse.

A few evenings ago I’d taken my keys with me when my husband and I went out. Didn’t give those keys a thought until next morning, when I was in my usual rush to an appointment. (You didn’t ask, but that appointment was a dance class at the Y. What I lack in grace I make up for in enthusiasm.)

I used a spare key to lock up, putting off the search until later.

Much later, well after Second Breakfast, tidying up and español lessons on Duolingo, I checked the usual places where stuff turns up—counters, bathrooms, etc.

Then I panicked. Surely the keys had fallen during last night’s group run. … No, wait: Maybe they were still in my running belt, which I’d tossed into the laundry.

But no. So began the retracing. This took the form of a slow jog, easy on the body but tough on the mind.

I kept looking down, reminding myself to check park benches and the bases of lampposts, where people often place objects they find along the path.

When my running watch pinged, telling me I’d gone 1 mile from where the GPS function had kicked in, I knew I was about to reach my turnaround point from the night before, so I trotted on.

Then my brain pinged. I stopped running and started laughing at myself.

Along with the familiar view of Chicago, I recalled the sensation of having my jacket tied around my waist and the feeling of annoyance at having to readjust it as something kept whacking me in the gut.

My keys! Which I now saw myself zipping into the pocket—the pocket of last night’s jacket, now sitting in the dryer.

Sure enough, that’s exactly where I found them.

After a leisurely walk home.

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